Professor Tom Calma, AO, an elder from the Kungarakan and Iwaidja tribal groups from the south-west Darwin region and the Coburg Peninsula in Northern Territory, was the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission from 2004 to 2010, as well as serving as Race Discrimination Commissioner between 2004 and 2009. Professor Calma has been actively involved in the formation of the Close The Gap for Indigenous Health Equality Campaign and the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples. He delivered the 2009 Mabo Oration; has continued to advocate for members of the Stolen Generations; and delivered the formal response in Parliament House on their behalf to the Prime Minister’s National Apology.
He is currently Chair of the Commonwealth Government’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Advisory Group and member of their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health Advisory Group, an Ambassador with Suicide Prevention Australia, Deputy Chancellor, University of Canberra, an Adjunct Associate Professor at the National Centre for Indigenous Studies at ANU, the inaugural National Coordinator for Tackling Indigenous Smoking (Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing), Co-Chair of Reconciliation Australia, member of the Australian Social Inclusion Board, National Patron of the Poche Centres for Indigenous Health Network, Chair of the Cooperative Research Centre for Remote Economic Participation and is a chair or member of numerous other national boards, committees and campaigns.
In 2010 and 2011, Professor Calma received honorary doctorates from Charles Darwin and Curtin Universities. He was awarded the Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in June 2012 for distinguished service to the Indigenous community as an advocate for human rights and social justice, through contributions to government policy and reform, and to cross cultural understanding and was the ACT Australian of the Year 2013.